IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — Chemists at UC Irvine announced Wednesday that they have created a urine test that allows men to check for prostate cancer.
The chemists published their findings in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.
The prostate exam would employ a simple urine test that can be done at home — much the way women can now test to see if they are pregnant.
“Our goal is a device the size of a home pregnancy test priced around $10. You would buy it at the drugstore or the grocery store and test yourself,” said Reginald Penner, one of the study’s authors. “We’re on the verge of a very important breakthrough in a new era of personal health management.”
The test would also allow men to check for bladder and multiple myeloma cancers.
Physicians diagnose about 240,000 men annually in the U.S. with prostate cancer, with 29,000 expected to die of it this year.
Early detection of prostate cancer is key, but experts say current testing does not always detect the disease in its early stages, moreover, the current exam often offers false positives.
The UCI researchers used a different biomarker — PSMA.
“A big problem is that the approach used now does not catch cancer soon enough,” said UCI biochemist Gregory Weiss, a co-author of the study.
“We want this to be a disruptive technology that will change how we save lives and that will bring down health care costs drastically,” said Weiss.